A new First-Home Scheme has been introduced to assist the ‘squeezed middle’.
What is the First-Home Scheme?
On 1 July 2022, the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien officially opened the First-Home Scheme to applicants.
Introduced as part of the Government’s Housing for All strategy, the First-Home Scheme (FHS) is designed to help the ‘squeezed middle’ i.e. those who do not earn enough to qualify for a mortgage while at the same time are on too high of an income to qualify for social housing.
Annual rent price inflation rose to a staggering 11.7% this year, with the middle-income population often the most exposed to these extortionate rates. It is therefore hoped that this scheme will get more people out of the firing line of high rents, and into the security of a purchased home.
The FHS is a shared equity scheme where the government and participating banks can contribute up to 30% of the purchase price of a house. In return, the contributing parties receive a stake in the property which you can choose to buy back at any stage.
The scheme’s ambition is to facilitate the purchase of 8,000 new homes over the next 4 years.
How Does the First Home Scheme Work?
Here is the critical information you need to know regarding the FHS.
- By contributing up to 30% of the purchase price of your new home, the government and participating lenders assume an equity stake in the property
- You are entitled to pay this equity back at any stage and assume full ownership of your home
- This equity stake is based on a percentage of the market value of your home
- If you are also eligible for the Help to Buy scheme, the max contribution you can receive is reduced to 20%
- The FHS is interest-free for the first 5 years, after which a service charge occurs
Example of the First-Home Scheme
Here is an example of the scheme in action, courtesy of Gov.ie
If you are a first-time buyer earning a salary of €70,000 and you wish to purchase a property to the value of €350,000, the maximum amount you can borrow is €245,000 which is three times your income.
At a purchase price of €350,000, a deposit of €35,000 (10%) is required. You can claim this back via the Help to Buy scheme.
The maximum that can be paid without support is €280,000 (€245,000 + €30,000) leaving you €70,0000 shy of the property asking price.
Under the FHS, the state can contribute €70,000 in return for a 20% equity stake.
“It (the First-Home Scheme) will make new homes more affordable and easier to access for first-time buyers, helping them to get their foot on that crucial first rung of the property ladder. It will encourage the increased development of new build homes”. – Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien
How to Apply for the First-Home Scheme
Firstly, to qualify for the FHS you must fall under certain criteria.
- You must be a first-time buyer or ‘frest start’ applicant
- The home you wish to purchase must be within the price limit for your local authority area
- Your mortgage must be with a participating lender (AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB)
To apply, visit www.firsthomescheme.ie and complete the application form.
Note: You will need Mortgage Approval in Principal.
For more information on the First-Home Scheme click here.